One of the Greatest Watersports Around
Whitewater kayaking is one of the most exhilarating water sports out there! Seemingly chaotic, paddling in whitewater is actually elegant and can be very controlled as paddlers become more experienced. Unlike its flatwater counterpart, whitewater kayaking is not something that can be tried out without some prior instruction. Everything from the terminology to
the gear is foreign to the uninitiated. Even getting into a kayak is a task that requires demonstration. And of course, safety is the main concern when it comes to whitewater kayaking. Learn all you can about whitewater kayaking so you can make the most out of this exciting and rewarding passion.
Whitewater rivers are as diverse as the kayakers that grace them. Some are steep and narrow. Others are wide and flow with high volume. There are drops, holes, waves, and eddys. Rivers range from Class I to Class VI. Some rivers are deep while others are what we call bony. Learn all about the whitewater classification system and how to identify these river features on the water and in conversation.
- Whitewater Classification System
- Basic Whitewater River Features
- Advanced Whitewater Kayaking River Feature Terminology
Whitewater River Scouting
Before any river is paddled you must know something about the river. This is where research comes in. There are guidebooks and online river reports where you can learn all about the whitewater rivers you aim to kayak. Armed with this information, you will be ready to scout the river once you are on it. There is an art to scouting whitewater and both researching rivers and scouting them are skills that should be learned rather quickly.
Swimming in Whitewater Rivers
Swimming? Why would you be swimming in whitewater? Actually, flipping over and having to swim out of the kayak is a rather normal occurrence for beginners. It’s all a part of the learning process and not something to fear as long as you know the proper technique for being out of your boat in the rapids. Knowing when to swim, when to stay with your kayak, and when to leave your gear are all decisions every whitewater kayaker will have to make at some point.
- How to Stay With Your Kayak When Swimming in Whitewater
- When to Leave Your Kayak When Swimming in Whitewater
Whitewater Kayaking Safety
The number one rule in whitewater kayaking is safety. There is a lot that can go wrong in whitewater. Everything from hypothermia, broken bones, twisted ankles, exhaustion, heart attack, and drowning can and has occurred. The goal is not to scare anyone with these facts but rather to inform whitewater kayakers as to the safety considerations that must be observed when whitewater kayaking. Having the necessary whitewater kayaking safety gear, knowing the various safety rescues, and being in tune with the basics of kayaking safety are all paramount for whitewater kayakers.
Whitewater Kayaking Technique
And now to the reason you’re all reading this article, to begin with, the kayaking itself. Of course, this whole list is an ongoing process. Kayakers won’t have the safety rescues down or be able to scout all of the different situations all in the first year of paddling. Whitewater kayaking is a growing set of skills that takes the life of the paddler to practice and master. The whole process of learning kayaking technique, practicing it, and improving is as enjoyable as paddling itself. So, go out and paddle just to get better. Learn the various rolls, strokes, and maneuvers that will take your whitewater kayaking to the next level.